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Using Home Remedies to Ease Cold Symptoms

Updated on March 12, 2011

There are many benefits to using home remedies and natural cures when it comes to the common cold. With increasing concerns over the use of dextromethorphan and the general ineffectiveness of many over-the-counter cold remedies, nutritional supplements seem like even more of a viable solution. Due to widespread abuse among teens and some adults, doctors and pharmacists are pushing for further restrictions of the purchase of cough medications that contain the active ingredient dextromethorphan.

Studies have indicated that this primary ingredient in many cough syrups and popular cold remedies is relatively ineffective for easing cold symptoms. The side effects associated with its use are the reason that cough syrups like Robitussin have become a recreational drug among many teens. In addition, these side effects make cough remedies that contain the ingredient unsafe for children under the age of six.

Doctors previously prescribed antibiotics for colds, which are also referred to as upper respiratory infections. However, increased concerns about the excessive reliance on antibiotics and the mutation of many “superbugs” has led many physicians to reconsider the use of these kinds of drugs for common ailments like the cold. Doctors now advise patients that there is actually very little that can be done to “cure” a cold, and it is best to let a cold run its course.

The duration of upper respiratory infections can vary, but in general, a cold lasts anywhere from 3-7 days. The most severe symptoms occur during the first few days of onset. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are many nutritional supplements and home remedies that can help to ease symptoms.

Symptoms of a cold include sore throat, congestion, increased mucus production, stuffy nose, sinus pain, and difficulty breathing. It has been shown that lemon juice can help soothe a sore throat. In addition, the concentrated levels of Vitamin C in lemon juice help strengthen the immune system. Vitamin C supplements are also recommended to help prevent upper respiratory infections. Echinacea is another beneficial home remedy that can aid in the prevention of colds.

Zinc lozenges, or zinc supplements, are also very effective for reducing cold symptoms, and have been proven to help shorten the duration of the common cold. Honey can also help to ease sore throat pain and treat coughs. The scent of eucalyptus oil is also often used as a home remedy for opening up airways and improving breathing.

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